Shortfin Mako © wildestanimal
Starry Smoothhound © Hans Hillewaert
Blue Shark © Peter de Maagt
Smallspotted Catshark © Dave Peake
Tope © Charles Hood
Blue Shark © Charles Hood
Historically, only a few high value sharks were targeted by fishing vessels for their meat, fins and liver oil. Most species included in the No Limits? campaign were an unwanted, discarded part of the bycatch in fisheries for more valuable bony fishes (such as cod and tuna). However, due to increased retention for meat, diversification of fisheries, and a decline of target species (e.g. swordfish), landings have soared over the past decade. With no catch limits set for many species of shark, huge pressure is now placed on these populations.
Smoothhound © Peter Verhoog
High Seas Sharks
Blue Shark and Shortfin Mako © Andy Murch
Download Shark ID Guides
The EU adopted a regulation banning shark finning (the removal of shark fins while at sea and the discarding of the carcass). However the regulation contained a loophole which provided an opportunity for shark finning to continue undetected and unpunished.
EU shark management plan
The EU finally adopted the Community Plan of Action-Sharks (CPOA-shark) – which contained an action to review and implement the European shark finning regulation.
The requirement to land sharks with their fins naturally attached finally came into force, establishing best-practice for the EU fleet worldwide, and representing the culmination of well over ten years work for the Shark Trust and our colleagues.
Launch of No Limits? campaign
With the support of UK Fisheries Minister George Eustice and campaign Ambassador Steve Backshall, the Shark Trust launched No Limits?.
Proposals for No Limits? species
The EU presented proposals at ICCAT for high-seas management of Atlantic Blue Sharks and Shortfin Makos. These proposals did not gain the necessary traction and fisheries remain unlimited.
The Shark League for the Atlantic and Mediterranean was formed by the Shark Trust, Shark Advocates International, Project Aware and Ecology Action Centre. This coalition focuses its efforts on advocating for catch limits, better protections for endangered species and enforceable shark finning bans in Regional Fisheries Management Organisations.
An EU proposal lead to the adoption of a modest measure for Blue Sharks at ICCAT – this was a small yet unprecedented step toward establishing limits on Blue Shark catches from the North Atlantic.
Petitions delivered to EU Commission
In March, the Shark Trust delivered over 130,000 signatures supporting the call to end uncontrolled shark fishing to the EU Commission in Brussels.
With scientists focusing their attention on Shortfin Makos at ICCAT as it was a stock assessment year, campaign focus also shifted from Blue Sharks to Shortfin Mako.
Scientific advice recommended that to stop overfishing and give the best chance of recovery, a complete ban on retaining Shortfin Mako should be implemented. Management fell short, but there is now a Binding Recommendation requiring live release.
In the newest phase of the campaign, we’re asking the public to help symbolise reducing the current tonnage of Shortfin Mako. With mileage mimicking tonnage, we want the public to show their support and ‘take on a tonne’ by moving a mile for makos.
Despite the adoption of a binding Recommendation at ICCAT 2017 requiring release of live makos in the North Atlantic, Shortfin Mako are still in deep trouble. In 2017 scientists reached clear conclusions: Shortfin Mako are overfished, and remain under pressure. Even if landings are cut to zero, Shortfin Makos have only a 54% chance of recovery by 2040: a prohibition on retention is the most effective immediate measure.
How can you help?
Help us show Atlantic shark fishing nations that we’re watching their actions!
The next annual ICCAT meeting is in November 2018. Ahead of this we’re asking you to show your support by joining #Move4Makos! You move a mile and we take a virtual tonne off the latest Shortfin Mako landings data! With 6000 tonnes reported from the Atlantic in 2016 – we‘re looking for enough supporters to symbolise bringing that total down to zero – mimicking the prohibition advised by the scientists.
Each person can only submit one mile, so we need at least 6000 of you to participate by moving in whatever way you prefer – this could include running, cycling, swimming, dog walking, climbing, beach cleaning, eggcase hunting or skateboarding – whatever gets you moving! At the same time we’ll be working with our Shark League colleagues, urging politicians and managers to stick with their commitments and ensure that the fishing pressure is reduced.
So who can move faster and hit zero first, the public or the politicians?
What to do next?
Download resources; fill out this form; and persuade friends and family to join you and #Move4Makos!
Fill in your details here
MOVE4MAKOS — Take on a tonne for Shortfin Mako by completing a mile of activity. You could run, cycle, walk, skateboard, kayak, eggcase hunt, dog walk, climb…be as inventive as you like! Once you’ve completed your mile, upload it here. We hope to mimic taking 6000 tonnes down to 0 by November’s ICCAT meeting.
GET THE KIDS INVOLVED — It’s vital that the future generation have their say. Colour in and make your own shark chatterbox and write your own Shortfin Mako facts inside. Don’t forget to send us photos of your creations!
SPREAD THE WORD — Social media is a powerful tool, spreading information far and wide in just one click. Follow the campaign on Facebook and Twitter, and share using #NoLimitsNoFuture #MakeTime4Makos and #Move4Makos
What our supporters say…
Conservationists are heralding action by the Spanish government to protect one of the world’s most valuable and threatened shark species, the shortfin mako.
Conservationists are closing the year with hope for endangered North Atlantic shortfin mako sharks as EU level decisions point to unprecedented 2021 limits for some of the world’s top mako fishing countries, particularly Spain and Portugal.
Conservationists are outraged that the European Union and the United States – despite long promoting science-based shark conservation – once again served as the main obstacles to urgently needed protections for mako sharks through annual negotiations of the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT).
Endangered Atlantic Shortfin Mako Sharks are set to take center stage in the 2020 deliberations of the International Commission for Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT), with Canada today proposing science-based catch limits that include a complete retention ban to protect the seriously overfished North Atlantic population.
Canada announces groundbreaking move to protect Shortfin Mako in the Atlantic after a sustained campaign by the Shark League to follow the advice of ICCAT scientists.
Conservationists are shocked and distressed that the European Union and the United States – despite long promoting science-based shark conservation – were the main obstacles to the adoption of urgently needed protections for mako sharks at the annual meeting of the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT).
Write to us
The Shark Trust, 4 Creykes Court, The Millfields, Plymouth, Devon, PL1 3JB, United Kingdom
Write to us
4 Creykes Court